Nutrition Services for adults

Nasogastric NG tube insertion - after treatment

This page provides information and advice following the insertion of a nasogastric (NG) tube.

It is important that you are aware of the problems you may experience following discharge home and when you should seek advice. You will be shown what to do and told how to get the equipment you need.

How to care for the NG tube

  • To prevent infection, always wash your hands well, before and after touching the tube or after giving feeds and medicines.
  • Your tube will be secured to your nose with either soft tape or a fixation clip. This tape or clip needs to be changed whenever it becomes wet, dirty or loses its stickiness. Your ward nurse will show you how to do this.

Checking tube position

  • Before using the tube, check the measurement by your nostril on the tube is the same as when the tube was first put in. Your ward nurse will show you how to do this.
  • Before using the tube, check that the tape or fixation clip is still secure and not loose.
  • If you have any concerns that the tube position may have changed, you will need to aspirate the tube and check pH before flushing or feeding. Your ward nurse will show you how to do this and give you pH strips to take home.

When to aspirate the NG tube to check pH

  • If the measurement next to your nostril has changed
  • If the tube has slipped through the tape or clip and moved position
  • If you have been retching or vomiting
  • If you have been coughing a lot

Flushing and feeding

  • Before using the NG tube check the tube position (as advised above)
  • The NG tube should only be used for prescribed feed, water or medication.
  • You should use water that has been boiled and cooled. This water should be stored in a clean jug in the fridge.
  • Unopened bottles of feed may be stored in a cool dark place, away from direct sunlight. Once opened, bottles should be stored in the fridge.
  • Any feed that has not been used within 24 hours should be thrown away.
  • You should use a 50 ml purple coloured ‘oral/ enteral’ syringe to flush your tube with water and medication.
  • You can usually re-use your syringe at home for up to a week if it’s washed with warm soapy water and dried after each use. Ask your community nurse for advice about this when home. 
  • You should use a new feeding set every 24 hours and throw it away with your domestic waste after use.
  • Make sure the prescribed amount of water is flushed through the tube before and after feed.
  • Medicines administered should where possible be in liquid form or dissolvable in water (as prescribed).
  • Sitting upright when feeding will help prevent feelings of nausea or vomiting.
  • You should not lie flat for 30 minutes after feeding has finished.
  • If the tube blocks flush with 50 mls of warm water. If this fails after 30 minutes flush with fizzy soda water or pineapple juice. If still blocked after a further 30 minutes contact your Community nurse or your GP. You may need to contact the hospital ward you were discharge from if the tube still cannot be unblocked.

How to get supplies

Feeds, feeding sets, pump and other equipment:

  • When you leave hospital you will be given the equipment you need to feed at home.
  • Your nurse or dietician will explain how you get prescribed feed and equipment in the community, you may have a Home care company who will supply your equipment.

If your NG tube comes out accidentally:

  • If your tube comes out accidentally contact your community nurse or the hospital ward you were discharged from as you may need to have another NG tube put in.

What to do if you have you any questions:

  • If you have any questions these can be answered by the dietician or nurse on the ward. After you go home, these can be answered by your community nurse, or GP. It is sometimes a good idea to write your questions down.

Leaflet to download

You can download and print a PDF leaflet of the information on this page.pdf

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